Rates: Mandatory relief for non-charities

William Thackeray made this Freedom of Information request to City of London Corporation

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

William Thackeray

Dear City of London Corporation,

Please provide details of properties where, over the past 5 years, mandatory relief from business rates has been granted on charitable grounds to an organisation which is not:

- a registered charity
- the trustee of a registered charity
- a charity shop
- a sports club
- a Friendly and Industrial and Provident Society
- an Excepted Charity
- an Exempt Charity (e.g. a place registered under the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855)

Yours faithfully,

William Thackeray

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

The City of London acknowledges receipt of your request.

City of London
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr. Thackeray,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 (FOIA) - INFORMATION REQUEST

I write further to your request of 5 January 2010 and the City's reply of
the same date.

In your request you asked for details of properties where, over the past 5
years, mandatory relief from business rates has been granted on charitable
grounds to an organisation which is not a registered charity; the trustee
of a registered charity; a charity shop; a sports club; a Friendly and
Industrial and Provident Society; an Excepted Charity; an Exempt Charity.

The answer to your request is follows:

Part 4th F, Salters Hall, 4 Fore Street, London, EC2Y 5DA

3 Creed Court, 5 Ludgate Hill, London, EC4M 7AA

Middle Temple, London, EC4

Inner Temple, London, EC4

146 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4V 4BY

The FOIA applies to the City of London as a local authority, police
authority and port health authority. Subject to any other statutory
provisions requiring the City of London to disclose information, release
of information outside the scope of the Act is subject to the discretion
of the City of London.

If you wish to make a complaint about the way the City of London has
handled your enquiry, please make your complaint in writing to email
address: [email address]. For a link to the City of
London's FOI complaints procedure, please visit the following page:
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Feedback, at the end of which is located the
FOI complaints procedure. If, having used the City of London's FOI
Complaints Procedure, you are still dissatisfied, you may request the
Information Commissioner to investigate. Please contact: Information
Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
Telephone: (01625) 545700. Website: [2]http://www.ico.gov.uk/.

The City of London holds the copyright in this email. The supply of this
does not give you a right to re-use the document in a way that would
infringe that copyright, for example, by making copies, publishing and
issuing copies to the public or to any other person. Brief extracts of any
of the material may be reproduced under the fair dealing provisions of the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (sections 29 and 30) for the
purposes of research for non-commercial purposes, private study,
criticism, review and news reporting, subject to an acknowledgement of the
copyright owner.

Yours sincerely,
On behalf of the Information Officer
Town Clerk's Department
City of London
Guildhall
London EC2P 2EJ

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear COL - EB - Information Officer,

Many thanks for this useful information.

For each of these addresses:

- who is the property owner?

- which of the Heads of Charity do they meet?

- what evidence have they provided that they meet the said Heads of Charity?

- what steps (if any) has the CoL taken to verify the truth of this evidence?

Thank you for your assistance with this matter.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

The City of London acknowledges receipt of your request.

City of London
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr. Thackeray,

Following your request for information of 29 January 2010, and our
acknowledgement of 31 January, the City of London (CoL) responds as
follows.

Your request was sent following our response of 28 January 2010 to your
request of 5 January 2010. In the request of 29 January you asked:

"For each of these addresses: - who is the property owner, which of the
Heads of Charity do they meet, what evidence have they provided that they
meet the said Heads of Charity, what steps (if any) has the CoL taken to
verify the truth of this evidence?"

In reply to your question about who is the property owner, I should
firstly advise you that the rating records do not hold the names of owners
as such but instead the names of ratepayers, ie those organisations or
individuals who are considered to be in "rateable occupation" of the
premises. The ratepayers are not necessarily the same organisations as the
owners. We are not able, therefore, to provide the names of the property
owners. Nevertheless, we provide the ratepayers of the addresses supplied
in response to your previous request. These are as follows:

Address Ratepayer
Part 4th F, Salters Hall, 4 Fore Street, London, EC2Y 5DA

The Honourable The Irish Society
3 Creed Court, 5 Ludgate Hill, London, EC4M 7AA
Greenwich Hospital
Middle Temple, London, EC4
The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple
Inner Temple, London, EC4
The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple
146 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4V 4BY The Church of Scientology
Religious Education College Inc

The CoL considers it is not possible to supply you with the remainder of
the information requested and this response therefore acts as a partial
Refusal Notice in pursuance of Section 17 of the Freedom of Information
Act (FOIA).

The CoL refuses your request because it is estimated that, taking this
request with your request of 5 January, the work required to locate,
retrieve and extract the information you have requested would take
considerably more than provided for in the Freedom of Information and Data
Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, and would exceed
the cost ceiling or 'appropriate limit' of £450. We conservatively
estimate that this task would take 28 hours which, in accordance with the
rate allowed to be charged under the Regulations, is the equivalent of
£700 in cost terms.

Extracting the information for the request of 5 January took 14 hours. The
explanation for this is as follows. Although we have lists of
organisations and addresses currently in receipt of mandatory relief, we
hold no comprehensive lists as such of addresses or organisations that
have received mandatory relief in the past. Therefore, we first had to
produce a list of all addresses/organisations current and historic; sort
this into those that have received relief within the last 5 years; and
then separate from this a list of historic cases only. We then had to
check whether the organisations on this last list were registered
charities, etc, as per your request. Although this took some considerable
time, it was a faster process than retrieving all old files from our
archive records and looking through each one. This latter approach would
have taken the first request alone above the appropriate limit.

To retrieve and extract the additional information you have now requested
would involve looking at individual files and we estimate that this would
take 14 hours. The CoL has aggregated this request with your request of 5
January in accordance with Regulation 5 of the above mentioned Fees
Regulations (which Regulation 5 is made in accordance with Section 12(4)
of the FOIA), which state that where two or more requests relate, to any
extent, to the same or similar information, and those requests are
received by the public authority within any period of sixty consecutive
working days, then the estimated cost of complying with any of the
requests is to be taken to be the total cost which may be taken into
account by the authority, under Regulation 5, of complying with all of
them. In other words, the estimated time in dealing with each request can
be aggregated as if the requests were one request. We consider that these
two requests, of 5 and 29 January, fall within the meaning of Regulation
5. For resource reasons, it is the practice of the CoL not to comply with
requests which exceed the appropriate limit.

In accordance with best practice guidance, as described in the Information
Commissioner's decision notice, Ref: FS 50203140, after applying the
appropriate limit a public authority is required to provide advice and
assistance, in so far as is possible, as to ways in which an applicant
could reduce a request so that it may fall within the appropriate limit.
We find it difficult to recommend how the request could be refined to fit
the balance of the time available, ie 4 hours, but please email us or
phone with your suggestions. Alternatively, you may wish to make a new
request for this information 60 working days after your request of 5
January, that is after 29 March.

The FOIA applies to the City of London as a local authority, police
authority and port health authority.

If you wish to make a complaint about the way the City of London has
handled your enquiry, please make your complaint in writing to email
address: [email address]. For a link to the City of
London's FOI complaints procedure, please visit the following page:
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Feedback, at the end of which is located the
FOI complaints procedure. If, having used the City of London's FOI
Complaints Procedure, you are still dissatisfied, you may request the
Information Commissioner to investigate. Please contact: Information
Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
Telephone: (01625) 545700. Website: [2]http://www.ico.gov.uk/.

The City of London holds the copyright in this email. The supply of this
does not give you a right to re-use the document in a way that would
infringe that copyright, for example, by making copies, publishing and
issuing copies to the public or to any other person. Brief extracts of any
of the material may be reproduced under the fair dealing provisions of the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (sections 29 and 30) for the
purposes of research for non-commercial purposes, private study,
criticism, review and news reporting, subject to an acknowledgement of the
copyright owner.

Yours sincerely,

Chamberlain's Department
T: 020-7332 1209
City of London
[3]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Chamberlain's Department,

Many thanks for your assistance with this request so far.

If I restrict the scope of the request by limiting it only to those addresses which currently meet the criteria (i.e. not properties where mandatory relief was formerly applied but is no longer applied), then does that fall within the cost limit?

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray,

Thank you for your suggestion for narrowing your request. We aim to
respond to the suggestion by close of tomorrow, 4 March 2010.

Yours sincerely,

Chamberlain's Department
T: 020-7332 1209
City of London
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr. Thackeray,

Further to your email of 2 March 2010, and our acknowledgement of 3 March,
your proposal will not narrow the scope of the request as all the
properties listed are currently in receipt of relief. As we advised in our
Refusal Notice of 25 February 2010, to locate, retrieve and extract the
additional information you have now requested would involve looking at
individual files and we estimate that this would take an estimated 14
hours in addition to the time already spent dealing with your request of 5
January.

We could, however, within the balance of four hours available in light of
your request of 5 January, search through some of the files to locate,
retrieve and extract as much information as possible within that time.
This might result in all the information being obtained for some of the
cases and/or some or none of the information for others. Please advise if
this approach is acceptable to you.

The FOIA applies to the City of London as a local authority, police
authority and port health authority. Subject to any other statutory
provisions requiring the City of London to disclose information, release
of information outside the scope of the Act is subject to the discretion
of the City of London.

If you wish to make a complaint about the way the City of London has
handled your enquiry, please make your complaint in writing to email
address: [email address]. For a link to the City of
London's FOI complaints procedure, please visit the following page:
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Feedback, at the end of which is located the
FOI complaints procedure. If, having used the City of London's FOI
Complaints Procedure, you are still dissatisfied, you may request the
Information Commissioner to investigate. Please contact: Information
Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
Telephone: (01625) 545700. Website: [2]http://www.ico.gov.uk/.

The City of London holds the copyright in this email. The supply of this
does not give you a right to re-use the document in a way that would
infringe that copyright, for example, by making copies, publishing and
issuing copies to the public or to any other person. Brief extracts of any
of the material may be reproduced under the fair dealing provisions of the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (sections 29 and 30) for the
purposes of research for non-commercial purposes, private study,
criticism, review and news reporting, subject to an acknowledgement of the
copyright owner.

Yours sincerely,

Chamberlain's Department
T: 020-7332 1209
City of London
[3]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

_____________________________________________
From: COL - EB - Information Officer
Sent: 03 March 2010 17:38
To: 'William Thackeray'
Subject: FOI RFI: Thackeray, wef 1 Feb 2010 - Refining of Request

Dear Mr Thackeray,

Thank you for your suggestion for narrowing your request. We aim to
respond to the suggestion by close of tomorrow, 4 March 2010.

Yours sincerely,

Chamberlain's Department
T: 020-7332 1209
City of London
[4]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear COL - EB - Information Officer,

Many thanks for your informative response re my FOIA query.

I would be grateful if you would:

1)
Use the remaining 4 hours to begin searching the files, starting with 146 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4V 4BY, and report any results to me.

2)
Then place this FOI query on hold for the statutory 60 days, then continue searching the files.

I hope that is a satisfactory solution, please let me know if not.

Thank you again for your assistance with this matter.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray,

We acknowledge receipt of your email of 11 March. Once we have had an
opportunity to consider your email we will reply in respect of the
proposed refinement of your original request. You are aware that we are
also currently dealing with a number of your other related requests and
complaints. We anticipate being able to write further within 10 working
days.

Yours sincerely,

Chamberlain's Department
T: 020-7332 1209
City of London
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear COL - EB - Information Officer,

I await the follow-on response to your email dated 12 March 2010, expected within 10 days of that date.

Many thanks for your assistance with this matter.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray,

Thank you for your email and please accept our apologies for the delay in
responding.

In response to your refined request of 11 March 2010 (in effect two
requests) we commented to you in our holding response of 12 March that,
once we had an opportunity to consider your email, we would reply in
respect of the proposed refinement of your original request, and that you
were aware that we were also (and still are) dealing with a number of your
other related requests and complaints.

We have not had time to consider your email, and therefore, by default, we
acknowledge that your request of 11 March stands and therefore takes
effect from 12 March. With regard to the balance of time mentioned which
fell within the 60 working days, the deadline for this is 12 April.

With regard to the remaining balance, it is not possible to post-date
requests. Nevertheless, given our failure to respond to your suggested
refinement of the request, we waive this point and take it that the
balance is with effect from 31 March and for this, therefore, the deadline
is 29 April.

We shall be unable to respond to the first request by 12 April. Please
accept our apologies for this. We aim to respond to both requests by 29
April, or sooner if possible.

If you wish to make a complaint about the way the CoL has handled your
enquiry, please make your complaint in writing to email address:
[email address]. For a link to the CoL's FOI complaints
procedure, please visit the following page:
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Feedback, at the end of which is located the
FOI complaints procedure. If, having used the CoL's FOI Complaints
Procedure, you are still dissatisfied, you may request the Information
Commissioner to investigate. Please contact: Information Commissioner,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF. Telephone:
(01625) 545700. Website: [2]http://www.ico.gov.uk/.

The FOIA applies to the CoL as a local authority, police authority and
port health authority.

The CoL holds the copyright in this communication. Its supply does not
give a right to re-use in a way that would infringe that copyright, for
example, by making copies, publishing and issuing copies to the public or
to any other person. Brief extracts of any of the material may be
reproduced under the fair dealing provisions of the Copyright, Designs and
Patents Act 1988 (sections 29 and 30) for the purposes of research for
non-commercial purposes, private study, criticism, review and news
reporting, subject to an acknowledgement of the copyright owner.

Yours sincerely,

City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
[3]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 (FOIA) - INFORMATION REQUEST

I write further to your eleventh and thirteenth requests to the City of
London (the City) for information under the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (the FOIA) relating, directly or indirectly, to the Church of
Scientology and the City of London's decision to award mandatory rate
relief to the Church of Scientology Religious Education College Inc
(COSREC).

You made your eleventh request on the 5 January 2010 for details of
properties over the past five years where mandatory relief from business
rates had been granted on charitable grounds to organisations which were
not:

- a registered charity

- the trustee of a registered charity

- a charity shop

- a sports club

- a Friendly and Industrial and Provident Society

- an Excepted Charity

- an Exempt Charity (e.g. a place registered under the Places of

Worship Registration Act 1855)

The City provided this information to you on the 28 January 2010 in
respect of five properties. Following our response you made a further,
related, request - your thirteenth - on the 29 January 2010 whereby you
requested:

For each of these addresses:

1. who is the property owner?

2. which of the Heads of Charity do they meet?

3. what evidence have they provided that they meet the said Heads
of Charity?

4. what steps (if any) has the CoL taken to verify the truth of
this evidence?

The City responded on the 25 February 2010 and clarified, with reference
to paragraph 1 of your request, that rating records do not hold the names
of property owners but instead the names of ratepayers being those
organisations or individuals who are considered to be in "rateable
occupation" of the premises. The City provided the names of the
ratepayers for each of the five properties disclosed to you in response to
your eleventh request. In relation to the balance of information we
issued a Partial Refusal Notice pursuant to section 12 of the FOIA whereby
we aggregated the request with your eleventh request (of 5 January)
bringing it beyond the appropriate limit.

Various correspondence was then exchanged between us whereby you sought to
narrow your thirteenth request to bring it within the balance of time
available at that time (four hours) to avoid exceeding the appropriate
limit (your sixteenth request). Your final suggestion, by email dated 11
March, was to request that we begin firstly with that information relating
to 146 Queen Victoria Street, London EC4V 4BY, the property occupied by
COSREC. On the 9 April 2010 we wrote to apologise for the delay in
responding to your sixteenth request (encompassing the available four
hours work) and, in light of our delay in responding caused by the officer
time diverted to dealing with your other complaints on related topics,
advised that with the expiry of the 60 working days (per section 12(4) and
the associated Regulations) we would treat the balance of your sixteenth
request as a new request - your seventeenth - with effect from the 31
March 2010.

We note the deadline to responding to the sixteenth and seventeenth
requests has passed. I apologise for the ongoing delay in replying to your
requests; however you are aware significant officer time has been directed
to dealing with your related and ongoing complaints before the
Commissioner and Tribunal.

In summary, the nature of your outstanding FOIA requests, in respect of
the following properties and ratepayers:

Property Ratepayer
Part 4th F, Salters Hall, 4 Fore Street, London, EC2Y 5DA

The Honourable The Irish Society
2. 3 Creed Court, 5 Ludgate Hill, London, EC4M 7AA

Greenwich Hospital
3. Middle Temple, London, EC4 The Honourable Society of
the Middle Temple

4. Inner Temple, London, EC4

The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple
5. 146 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4V 4BY The Church
of Scientology Religious Education College Inc

And is for the following information relating to their current mandatory
rate relief:

1. Which of the Heads of Charity do they meet?

2. What evidence have they provided that they meet the said Heads
of Charity?

3. What steps (if any) has the City taken to verify the truth of
this evidence?

Various information has been provided to the City by each of the
ratepayers and the evidence provided will depend on the circumstances of
each case. Further, the City, in taking its decision will make further
enquiries of the applicant as necessary until it is satisfied that it has
sufficient information available to it to enable a decision to be made as
to whether relief should be granted.

As we have noted in relation to other requests made by you for similar
information, it is not possible to provide you with the information you
are seeking as we are of the view that information provided in support of
an application for mandatory relief is provided in confidence and is
therefore exempt under section 41 of the FOIA, an absolute exemption. We
would also argue that the balance of information relating to the grant of
mandatory rate relief which is not exempt pursuant to section 41 would be
exempt under section 31(1)(d). Information may also, in certain
circumstances, be subject to legal professional privilege and exempt under
s 42, or otherwise under s 40 (personal data).

Regarding the application of exemptions as noted above we provide the
following reasoning:

Section 41 Exemption

We apply the section 41 exemption - information provided in confidence.
This exemption is being relied upon as information provided to the City of
London in support of an application for mandatory rate relief (whether or
not it is otherwise in the public domain) gives rise to a reasonable
expectation of privacy and the information has been provided to the City
in confidence. (Refer: SSHD v British Union for the Abolition of
Vivisection, The Information Commissioner [2008] EWHC 892.)

Section 31(1)(d) Exemption

We also apply the section 31(1)(d) exemption - prejudice to the assessment
or collection of any tax or duty or of any imposition of a similar
nature. In order that the City may undertake its functions in respect of
the assessment and collection of tax etc such discussions must take place
out of the public eye and the release of the information may affect both
the openness of future discussions with any applicant and the confidence
of applicants in the City in dealing fairly and impartially with their
application without being subject to outside influences. (Refer the
Information Commissioner's decisions - FS50066998 and FS50098771.) Release
of the information would therefore be prejudicial to the exercise of these
functions.

This exemption is subject to the public interest test. While there is a
public interest in encouraging accountability and transparency by
increasing public understanding of the CoL's processes and decisions, this
should be weighed against both the detrimental effect that release of the
information would have in assessing applications for grant relief as
future applications would be likely to be expressed less frankly if it
were known that they were likely to be released into the public domain;
together with the inherent public interest in the effective working of the
process for determining mandatory rate relief in order to ensure the
efficient use of the public authority's resources in assessing
applications and awarding relief. We would not normally disclose the
information requested for these reasons and also to ensure that there can
be no suggestion that outside pressures were affecting a fair assessment
by the CoL as a public authority. We are mindful that certain members of
the public may have an interest in the conduct of the Church of
Scientology, however this of itself does not constitute a public interest
argument supporting disclosure (refer the Information Tribunal decision of
Hogan v The Information Commissioner, EA/2005/0026, EA/2005/0030). It is
important that there should be equity in the way all ratepayers are
treated.

Section 42 Exemption

The City applies this exemption as it is considered that the public
interest in maintaining the exemption and withholding the information
outweighs the public interest in disclosing it. There is a strong element
of public interest inbuilt into legal professional privilege itself and at
least equally strong countervailing considerations must be adduced for the
public interest to weigh in favour of disclosure. (Please see: Bellamy v
The Information Commissioner [2006] UK Information Tribunal, Reference:
EA/2005/0023). It is considered that such equal or overriding
considerations do not arise in this case. While there is a public interest
in disclosing information that enables scrutiny of a public authority's
actions and which encourages transparency in decision-making, in this
particular case the public interest weighs in favour of maintaining the
exemption as the issues remain live, and it is in the public interest that
public authorities are not disadvantaged in their legal affairs and are
allowed to conduct, in confidence, a free and frank exchange of
information and views as to their legal rights and obligations with those
advising them without fear of intrusion. The CoL's Departments demand and
receive comprehensive advice which directly affects the CoL's decision
making. Without that advice the quality of the decisions themselves would
be reduced and such a scenario would be contrary to the public interest.

Section 40(2) exemption

We apply the FOIA section 40(2) exemption (personal information) to
disclosure of the name of various individuals. We consider that where
someone works, including who their employer is, is personal information,
whether in the public or private sector. The Information Tribunal has
upheld the view that "to release the name of an individual's employer
would be to release significant personal data", and hence could be a
breach of the Data Protection Principles under the Data Protection Act
1998 (DPA). The exemption is engaged as we consider that a breach of the
First Data Protection Principle under the DPA would occur because of
disclosure, i.e. the principle of fair and lawful processing. There is no
general expectation by third parties that their place of work and work
contact details should be automatically disclosed by the CoL following a
FOI request, which requests we have to treat as being in effect a
disclosure to everyone and anyone, i.e. it becomes fully public
information.

Regarding the information you have requested for COSREC, we refuse this
request pursuant to section 14 of the FOIA on the basis that the
information falls within the scope of one or another of the requests you
have made which are currently the subject of complaints to the Information
Commissioner or the Information Tribunal, including the following:

Request Details of Request Date of Request
3. Please provide a copy of the legal advice which led to the
Corporation charging business rates at a reduced rate to Church of
Scientology Religious Education College Inc, a US corporation. 4
February 2009
6. I refer to the recent Mandatory Relief application related to a
property at 146 Queen Victoria St. I believe it was submitted by the
occupier of the property `Church of Scientology Religious Education
College Inc'. Please provide the application itself, plus any supporting
documents or other information which was submitted with it. 7 April
2009
7. Please provide agenda, minutes, and any other records of the
meeting on 30 August 2006 between legal representatives of Church of
Scientology Religious Education College Incorporated ("COSREC") and the
City of London ("CoL") to discuss COSREC's appeal following refusals by
the CoL of mandatory rate relief. 9 June 2009
9.

I would like to go ahead and amend my previous request, bringing
it within the appropriate limit by limiting the request to internal
communications held by the City Solicitor's Department and the Rates
Collection Office between the date of the application for mandatory rate
relief and the date when the relief was granted, ie 19 April 2005 and 19
October 2006.

(This is a refined version of previous requests 5 & 8.)

24 July 2009

Your request for information, which information is the subject of existing
complaints which remain under review, together with your linked requests
made to other public authorities regarding the Church of Scientology and
the City of London (e.g. to the Audit Commission on 12 April 2010 as a
result of evidence given in your related complaint to the Tribunal),
demonstrate the obsessive nature of this and ongoing requests. These
requests by your own admission manifest your clear intention to reopen
issues that have already been considered by the City and which currently
remain under review by the Commissioner and the Tribunal. Complying with
your numerous requests and complaints, in this ongoing campaign has placed
a significant burden in terms of expense and distraction and diversion of
officers from their normal work which cannot be sustained. (Refer, for
example, to the Information Commissioner's decision FS50238979.)

If you wish to make a complaint about the way the CoL has handled your
enquiry, please make your complaint in writing to email address:
[email address]. For a link to the CoL's FOI complaints
procedure, please visit the following page:
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Feedback, at the end of which is located the
FOI complaints procedure. If, having used the CoL's FOI Complaints
Procedure, you are still dissatisfied, you may request the Information
Commissioner to investigate. Please contact: Information Commissioner,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF. Telephone:
(01625) 545700. Website: [2]http://www.ico.gov.uk/.

Please note that the Act applies to the CoL only as a local authority,
police authority and port health authority.

The CoL holds the copyright in this communication. The supply of it does
not give you a right to re-use it in a way that would infringe that
copyright, for example, by making copies, publishing and issuing copies to
the public or to any other person. Brief extracts of any of the material
may be reproduced under the fair dealing provisions of the Copyright,
Designs and Patents Act 1988 (sections 29 and 30) for the purposes of
research for non-commercial purposes, private study, criticism, review and
news reporting, subject to an acknowledgement of the copyright owner.

Yours sincerely,

City of London

Tel: 020-7332 1209

[3]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Anonymous Person Employed by CoL,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of City of London Corporation's handling of my FOI request 'Rates: Mandatory relief for non-charities'.

My reason for requesting an internal review is:

I do not agree that the following exemptions have been correctly applied.

Section 41 (information provided in confidence)

I do not agree that the information was provided in confidence. Where relief from business rates is being granted as a consequence of claimed public benefit, it is absurd for CoL to argue that details of that public benefit must remain confidential from the public.

Section 31(1)(d) (prejudice to tax collection)

I do not agree that the release of this information would be prejudicial. I also argue that there is a strong public interest in the release of this information (as set out in the case currently before the First Tier Tribunal (Information Rights)).

Section 42 (Legal professional privilege)

This cannot apply to information which is not legal advice communicated from lawyer to client. I also argue that there is a strong public interest in the release of this information (as set out in the case currently before the First Tier Tribunal (Information Rights)).

Section 40(2) (Personal information)

My understanding is that the DPA does not apply to corporate bodies, only to individual 'natural persons'. Details of individual 'natural persons' could be redacted. The public has a legitimate interest (under DPA) in the release of this information, therefore processing would not be unfair (see Thackeray v ICO & General Medical Council).

Section 14 (Vexatious / repeated requests).

I do not agree that this request is vexatious.

I find CoL's assertion that I am an 'obsessive' to be unnecessary, unprofessional and offensive, particularly in the anonymous, condescending correspondence which appears to be CoL's preferred way of meeting its FOIA obligation to 'advise and assist'.

If this request repeats in part the content of a previous request then please accept my apologies for the error, and omit that specific part of this request (but not the whole request).

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ra...

Yours faithfully,

William Thackeray

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray,

Thank you for your email of 10 May 2010.

By this email, your request for a review is copied to our complaints
officer, who will log your complaints relating to your requests of 11 and
30 March 2010. The City of London aims to respond to FOI complaints within
20 working days from the first working day after receiving the complaint.

Yours sincerely,

City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray,

We write further to your emails of 10 May 2010 requesting an internal
review of the City of London's decisions regarding your requests for
information. In light of the recent Tribunal decision (EA/2009/095) and
your related complaints currently with the Information Commissioner, the
City of London is unable to respond at this time but would hope to be in a
position to reply by the 6 July.

Yours sincerely,

Information Officer
City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray,

Following our holding reply of 8 June 2010 we are unfortunately not in a
position to respond at this time as we remain in communication with the
Information Commissioner's Office regarding your related complaints. The
outcome of those matters, with reference to the Tribunal's decision in the
appeal EA/2009/095, will be relevant to our internal review. We are aware
that you have been awaiting our response for some time but these are
unusual circumstances and we will formally respond as soon as we can. We
will contact you again before 30 July.

Yours sincerely,

Information Officer
City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

_____________________________________________
From: COL - EB - Information Officer
Sent: 08 June 2010 13:54
To: 'William Thackeray'; 'William Thackeray'
Subject: RE: FOI Complaints: Thackeray (6), (7) & (8), wef 11 May
2010

Dear Mr Thackeray,

We write further to your emails of 10 May 2010 requesting an internal
review of the City of London's decisions regarding your requests for
information. In light of the recent Tribunal decision (EA/2009/095) and
your related complaints currently with the Information Commissioner, the
City of London is unable to respond at this time but would hope to be in a
position to reply by the 6 July.

Yours sincerely,

Information Officer
City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
[2]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray,

I write further to our earlier correspondence, copied below. We are still
in correspondence with the Information Commissioner's Office and are
unable to add anything further at this time. We will write further to
update you by the end of August.

Yours sincerely,

Information Officer
City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

______________________________________________
From: COL - EB - Information Officer
Sent: 06 July 2010 16:11
To: 'William Thackeray'; 'William Thackeray'
Subject: FOI Complaints: Thackeray (6), (7) & (8), wef 11 May 2010

Dear Mr Thackeray,

Following our holding reply of 8 June 2010 we are unfortunately not in a
position to respond at this time as we remain in communication with the
Information Commissioner's Office regarding your related complaints. The
outcome of those matters, with reference to the Tribunal's decision in the
appeal EA/2009/095, will be relevant to our internal review. We are aware
that you have been awaiting our response for some time but these are
unusual circumstances and we will formally respond as soon as we can. We
will contact you again before 30 July.

Yours sincerely,

Information Officer
City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
[2]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

_____________________________________________
From: COL - EB - Information Officer
Sent: 08 June 2010 13:54
To: 'William Thackeray'; 'William Thackeray'
Subject: RE: FOI Complaints: Thackeray (6), (7) & (8), wef 11 May
2010

Dear Mr Thackeray,

We write further to your emails of 10 May 2010 requesting an internal
review of the City of London's decisions regarding your requests for
information. In light of the recent Tribunal decision (EA/2009/095) and
your related complaints currently with the Information Commissioner, the
City of London is unable to respond at this time but would hope to be in a
position to reply by the 6 July.

Yours sincerely,

Information Officer
City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
[3]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

Referred to ICO (internal review not completed within a reasonable time).

William Thackeray

Dear Anonymous Information Officer,

I await your response on this matter.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

CCS - Mail, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray

We write further to your emails dated 1 September. Until such time as the
Commissioner's Office takes its decision in respect of your related
complaints, the City of London will not be in a position to undertake the
internal reviews. As we have noted previously, we are aware that you have
been awaiting our responses for some time but these are unusual
circumstances and we will formally respond once we have received the
Commissioner's decisions.

Comptroller and City Solicitor's Department
City of London
020 7332 1633

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Anonymous Member of the City of London's Comptroller and City Solicitor's Department,

CoL's responsibilities under FOIA are not a favour or a boon to be granted or denied at will; they are rather a legal obligation.

Under what provision of FOIA does CoL consider that its legal obligations do not apply in this situation?

I am not aware of any exemptions which apply here. If you are relying on an exemption then please state what it is; otherwise please continue with the FOIA process as laid down in law.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

William Thackeray

Dear CCS - Mail,

Still awaiting your response.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

Pietsch, Anne, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray,

You are aware that we are currently liaising with the Information
Commissioner regarding your related complaints. As such, and as noted
in our email of 7 September we are not in a position to respond at this
time.

Yours sincerely,

Anne Pietsch
Public and Corporate Law
for Comptroller and City Solicitor
City of London, PO Box 270, Guildhall EC2P 2EJ
PH: 020 - 7332 1633 (direct line)
FAX: 020 - 7332 1992
www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Anne,

I agree that related FOIA queries are currently before the Information Commissioner

As I stated on 7 September, I'm not aware of any provision in FOIA which would mean that the Information Commissioner's consideration of other FOIA queries makes the City of London exempt from the legal requirements of FOIA in respect of this query.

I therefore await your timely response.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

William Thackeray

Dear Anne,

Continuing to await your response, the legal deadline for which expired some months ago.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

Pietsch, Anne, City of London Corporation

I am on annual leave from the 8-26 November and will return to work on the 29 November.

If the matter is urgent and cannot wait until my return, please contact Loretta Jennings on x 3698 or at [email address]

Thank you,

Anne Pietsch

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Anne,

Awaiting the outcome of your internal review, which was due by 10 June 2010.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

William Thackeray

Dear City of London Corporation,

I'm still awaiting your response to my FOIA internal review request dated 10 May 2010.

The legal deadline for your response was eight months ago - you are very clearly in breach of law.

Yours faithfully,

William Thackeray

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray,

Thank you for your email, which has been passed to the Comptroller and
City Solicitor's Department to respond to.

Yours sincerely,

Information Officer
City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Pietsch, Anne, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray,

I write further to my email dated 7 September 2010 where you were advised
that the City of London would not be in a position to undertake any
internal reviews in respect of your complaints until such time as the
Information Commissioner's Office took its decisions in respect of your
related complaints. Since I wrote, and as you are aware, the City of
London has reconsidered the grant of mandatory rate relief to COSREC on
the 27 September 2010 and the Information Commissioner has also since
issued a number of Decision Notices, the most recent which was received
today. You are also aware the City of London has released information
relating to these issues on the City of London's website at:
[1]http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporati...
.

In light of the above, you can expect the City of London's formal response
to your request for internal review by the 4 March 2011.

Yours sincerely,

Anne Pietsch
Public and Corporate Law
for Comptroller and City Solicitor
City of London, PO Box 270, Guildhall EC2P 2EJ
PH: 020 - 7332 1633 (direct line)
FAX: 020 - 7332 1992
[2]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

______________________________________________
From: COL - EB - Information Officer
Sent: 10 February 2011 16:56
To: 'William Thackeray'
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information request - Rates: Mandatory
relief for non-charities

Dear Mr Thackeray,

Thank you for your email, which has been passed to the Comptroller and
City Solicitor's Department to respond to.

Yours sincerely,

Information Officer
City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
[3]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Pietsch, Anne, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray

I write further to my email dated 11 February.

Unfortunately I am not in a position to respond today as was my intention.
I am on annual leave from the 7-10 March and I will respond by Friday, 25
March. I am sorry for the ongoing delay.

Yours sincerely

Anne Pietsch
Public and Corporate Law
for Comptroller and City Solicitor
PH: 020 - 7332 1633
FAX: 020 - 7332 1992

_____________________________________________
From: Pietsch, Anne
Sent: 11 February 2011 16:17
To: '[FOI #26470 email]'
Subject: Thackeray - Rates: Mandatory relief for non-charities

Dear Mr Thackeray,

I write further to my email dated 7 September 2010 where you were advised
that the City of London would not be in a position to undertake any
internal reviews in respect of your complaints until such time as the
Information Commissioner's Office took its decisions in respect of your
related complaints. Since I wrote, and as you are aware, the City of
London has reconsidered the grant of mandatory rate relief to COSREC on
the 27 September 2010 and the Information Commissioner has also since
issued a number of Decision Notices, the most recent which was received
today. You are also aware the City of London has released information
relating to these issues on the City of London's website at:
[1]http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporati...
.

In light of the above, you can expect the City of London's formal response
to your request for internal review by the 4 March 2011.

Yours sincerely,

Anne Pietsch
Public and Corporate Law
for Comptroller and City Solicitor
City of London, PO Box 270, Guildhall EC2P 2EJ
PH: 020 - 7332 1633 (direct line)
FAX: 020 - 7332 1992
[2]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

______________________________________________
From: COL - EB - Information Officer
Sent: 10 February 2011 16:56
To: 'William Thackeray'
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information request - Rates: Mandatory
relief for non-charities

Dear Mr Thackeray,

Thank you for your email, which has been passed to the Comptroller and
City Solicitor's Department to respond to.

Yours sincerely,

Information Officer
City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
[3]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Pietsch, Anne, City of London Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Thackeray,

Further to my email dated 4 March 2011, please find attached our response
to your request for internal review and the attachment referred to in that
response.

<<Response IR - Thackeray MRR Non-reg etc Charities 250311.pdf>>
Yours sincerely,

Anne Pietsch
Public and Corporate Law
for Comptroller and City Solicitor
City of London, PO Box 270, Guildhall EC2P 2EJ
PH: 020 - 7332 1633 (direct line)
FAX: 020 - 7332 1992
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Anne,

Received with thanks.

My thanks to you and your colleagues for your assistance with this case.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray